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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Review: Dangerous Games (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Bk 4) by Keri Arthur

This series just gets better and better. This might be the best book yet.

We knew from the last book that this book would have Riley facing off against Gautier, so it's no surprise when he shows up. Or, it wasn't for me, anyway.

But the way the author makes it happen, the plot around this story, the way Riley has to face off against him, deal with him, was very entertaining.

This book takes us into some serious BDSM, but not really my brand of BDSM since I don't get into the whole bleeding thing, so the BDSM didn't really do anything for me. As far as the darkness factor though, we don't witness anything happening that compares to the rape scene from the previous book, I don't think. Worse stuff happens, but we don't witness it.

One bad point, something I didn't really like: I'm not thrilled with the premise of an evil being who feeds off fear being the one doing the pain-giving. I mean, sure, in the world of BDSM the Tops or Doms or Masters or whatever they want to call themselves do get off on the giving of pain, just as the bottoms/sub/slaves get off on the receiving of it. But that doesn't make anyone bad, much less evil. Now, doing it on someone who doesn't want the pain, sure, I'll agree to that being bad and evil. But in a consensual situation, not so much. Of course, some (not all) of the scenes in the book were of dubious consent, but I can't really explain that part without spoiling, so I won't. At any rate, I suppose that's a thought process for another day. We'll just say I wasn't thrilled with the demonisation of the type of person who would gain enjoyment on pain that is completely consensual.

But other than that little sticking point, the rest of the book worked for me. And I will also admit that if you're going to have an emotional vampire type thing running around out there, someone who feeds off of emotions, then having a BDSM Top feeding off of the pain he inflicts was a good plot device. And that's not a spoiler, because I figured it out way before anyone explained it in the book. I knew from the first bit of pain he inflicted.

As for Riley's romantic life, I am once again pleased with the decision she is making. I can see myself making very similar decisions about who to keep in my personal life and who to completely boot out of it. I won't give away more than that, I'll just say that Riley does seem to have her head very well placed on her shoulders when it comes to deciding who to keep in her romantic life.

There was a little more sex in this book, though I don't think we got the play by play as much as we have in the past. This book takes place as they are getting close to the full moon, but not fully into the time when she starts being ruled by it. The timing is just close enough to ramp Riley's libido up with practically nothing needed, which actually helped her out a great deal on this case.

And, as for her moral code, she's still worrying about it a good deal. Yes, she kills again, but she doesn't do it easily. And it's a case of killing this person who is bad so that they can't kill innocents anymore. And even at that, it's not easily done. She's still not the killing machine she's afraid of being turned into. I like that about her. Yes, she's going to have to kill in her job, but she's not going to do it if it goes against her moral code.

She also has a potential new guy come into play in this book. Nothing happens, and in fact he obviously doesn't like her, but I think that's because he thinks she's like the other guardians, nothing more than a hired killer. If he ever figures out differently (and I'm guessing he will) then his attitude towards her might change.

This book did what I love for books in a series to do: we see Riley growing and experiencing life. The book has it's own plot, but in the process of that plot we see Riley coming into her abilities as a guardian, being more confident with her job, and figuring out what to do with the men in her life. Riley has grown a great deal since that first book, and I've enjoyed watching her do so.

We also learn more about some of the secondary characters. There is still more to learn about many of them, but we are slowly getting more and more information about them. And I can't wait to keep reading to find out even more. I like some of the secondary characters as much as I like Riley. Even when I'm aggravated with their actions.

I'm giving Dangerous Games a 10 of 10. And the series is now up to a 9 of 10

Book Rating: 10 of 10
Series Rating: 9 of 10

1. Full Moon Rising (2006)
2. Kissing Sin (2007)
3. Tempting Evil (2007)
4. Dangerous Games (2007)
5. Embraced by Darkness (2007)
6. The Darkest Kiss (2008)
7. Deadly Desire (March 2009)

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